Author Topic: End of the Line Dynasty (4x4)  (Read 132983 times)

Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty
« Reply #105 on: October 27, 2013, 08:03:52 AM »

Starlight Shores, back at the beginning:

“Hello?  Is that Madeleine Silverman?
“Hi.  I’m Louisa Goole, Sam’s mo…

“Yes, the Louisa – but I’m also Sam Goole’s mother.  Since Deirdra’s conned both of our kids into Grim’s latest scheme, I thought we ought to get to know each other.  After all, it sounds as though we’re likely to have a shared grandchild very soon.

“Would you like to come over for a visit?  We’re renting this house with a ridiculously large-screen TV.  We could watch the first few days together…”

*   *   *   *   *

“Are you sure this is it, Mad?  I always imagined rock stars living somewhere huge and crazy.”
“It’s the right address – and the taxi driver seemed to think she lives here.  Let’s find out.”

“Hello.  Does Louisa…?”
“Live here?  Yes, I do.  Come in and make yourselves at home.”

The visit was a great success.  While Maddy and Lou swapped recipes…

…Quinton and Tavares bonded over their shared enthusiasm for all things technological.

In the evenings, they all sat down together to watch what was happening in Hidden Springs.

“But I’m too young to be a grandfather!”
“Shush, Tavares.  You’ll make us miss the wedding.”

*   *   *   *   *

Some time later:

“Hi, Maddy.  It’s Lou.  D’you and Quinton want to visit again?  Watch Adam’s wedding together?  I can’t believe how fast the time’s going for them.  Deirdra says Grim’s done something to the relative timeframes – speeded them up and slowed us down – but even so…”
“I’d love to, but Sunny’s baby’s due any time and we’re on call to look after the kids.  Well, Scott mostly.  Marsha’s old enough to be sensible but he’s a bit of a handful.”
“OK, maybe we can catch up later.  Oh, did Will send you the Young Again formula?”

“Yes he did, thanks.  Did you know he used to live in our house?  Small world, isn’t it?”
“In Will’s case, the coincidence isn’t that amazing.  They’ve lived everywhere.  They never stay in one place for long.”
“Yes, he said they’d moved around a lot.  Something about one of his daughters?”
“It’s a long story.  I’ll tell you some other time.”

“Anyway, Quinton managed to make the potion first try and he’s been glued to the chemistry bench ever since, trying to discover other useful things.  I think we might use birthday cakes to get back to mature adulthood, though.  Being younger than the children feels too weird.”

*   *   *   *   *

“Lou, I was just wondering whether you’d recorded last night’s instalment.
“Yes, we were watching it – well, at least to start with.  We had the whole family round.

“But then Sunny went into labour and we sort of missed the rest.

“Oh yes, mother and baby are both fine.

“A little girl.  7lb 12oz.  They’re going to call her Nicola.

“Thanks.  I’ll look forward to watching it.  That Lily’s a sweet girl.”

*   *   *   *   *

Sunset Valley, present day:

“Lou, can you and Tavares come to stay for a while?  I think we might need each other’s support before too long.”

Next chapter of main story
Next interlude

Offline Rhoxi

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Watching (27 October)
« Reply #106 on: October 27, 2013, 06:35:29 PM »

The last line, it's makin' me do this:  :(

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Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Watching (27 October)
« Reply #107 on: October 28, 2013, 04:37:15 AM »
Sorry.  It's been a whole run of miserable chapters recently.  I was going to put in a section or two about the families earlier but then changed my mind.  Last week, our internet connection was too slow to download the new patch, so I started playing about in another file with the families and ended up writing their part of the story after all.  The game file is now back in business and I have two more chapters almost ready to post, so things should get happier this week :).

Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty
« Reply #108 on: October 29, 2013, 02:54:50 PM »
Moving On

Grim was patient and, he reluctantly admitted, he was fond of this family.  Too fond for someone in his position.  He kept coming up with excuses to leave them be.  He let Sam and Sophia live long enough to see the two youngest members of the family grow up…

…and celebrate the end of schooling.

Luke became the second of their three children to graduate as valedictorian but was also, rather unkindly, voted Most Likely to be Mediocre.

Martin was Most Popular, like his mother, Lily.

Should he take them now?  No, give them a little longer.  All mothers liked to see their daughters settling down.  So Grim let them stay to see Zoë meet a number of eligible young men…

…and choose one of them, the hunky Demario Beckwith.

But now he had waited long enough.  It was time.  He wasn’t the Big Softie Reaper, after all.  He did have a reputation to maintain.  Still, he could be kind, in his own way.  He hoped the Golds had noticed how gentle he’d been with their friends – apart from that fool Dany Shue, who’d run away.

Now he was equally kind to Sam and Sophia, taking them both in a single night…

…which didn’t make it any easier for those left behind.

*   *   *   *   *

Adam was aware that time was running out for him, too.  Despite their grief, he and Lily tried to make the most of the days they had left together.

Zoë also found consolation in love…

…and even more in creating new life.

Caroline’s birth was followed rapidly by Lucy’s.

Luke took refuge in his work – and in spending time with a string of girlfriends.  He was beginning to acquire a reputation around town, which wasn’t doing much for his political aspirations.  He resigned before he was fired and moved into business instead.

Martin, on the other hand, announced that he’d had enough of this dynastic madness and moved into a little house in town, where he could concentrate on his scientific studies in peace.  Well, relative peace.  The house was right next door to the school.

Only Phil seemed unable to move on.  Oh, he was still progressing through his career and said he was looking out for opportunities but he spent all of his free time listening to Sam’s recordings of his mother’s songs – which seemed, if anything, to be making him more depressed.  Lily was tempted to confiscate the album but Phil was supposed to be a young adult.  He was far too old for that kind of treatment.
Meanwhile, Zoë’s daughters were growing up.  Caroline was a great favourite of Lily’s.  They played video games together for hours on end.

Lucy was still a toddler but would soon be joining her sister at school.

Lily was starting to worry.  When would Philip finish his tasks and start his own family?  He showed no interest in going out and looking for a wife, even though Lily was pretty sure he wasn’t gay.  There were plenty of young women interested in him: Shari Lopes, who had kissed him at Prom, back when they were both teenagers; Lorie Cardona, whose young sister he had once carried out of a burning building…  Come to that, little Fatima was now grown up and still hero-worshipped him.  He said he liked them all but ‘not in that way’.
His adult birthday came and went.

Finally, his mother took him aside and explained in no uncertain terms that he had a duty to the family and what was he going to do about it?  And so he told her what the problem was.

RIP, Sam and Sophia.  Both achieved their Renaissance Sim lifetime wishes.  They both mastered logic and sculpting, with Sam’s third skill being guitar and Sophia’s, riding (entirely learned from books).  They also had quite a few points in a variety of other skills.  It would have made much more sense for them to have had money wishes – the early game is far too frantic to spend so much time on skills.  In fact, the sensible, if boring, way to play this challenge would be with money wishes for everyone.

Martin was moved out because I accidentally disqualified him as a 'pollinator' by not realising until too late that long life granted by a genie is passed on down the family.

Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty
« Reply #109 on: October 30, 2013, 01:51:21 PM »
Fire and Water

In fact, Phil had met his ideal woman long ago.  She was a daredevil like himself, beautiful (at least, to him) in an unusual, almost unearthly, way and as brightly coloured as he was.  She was also unattainable – but not for the usual reasons.  He knew she was single.  Her age was a moot point: was she younger or older than he was?  Either way, she’d certainly be young enough to produce the next generation of Golds, given the chance.  The tricky part was that she was dead.

Ruth had first caught his attention because she was different.  All of the other ghosts at the cemetery had died in fires.  It wasn’t too surprising when you thought about it: the town was surrounded by forest and the older houses were all made of wood.  One of the reasons he’d joined the Fire Service was that he’d heard so many first-hand accounts of death by fire.  Ruth, though, had drowned while boating on the lake.  While the other ghosts were orange, she was a luminous blue.  But just as dead.

If his grandfather were to be believed, a lot of his ancestors had been ghosts, so there must be a way of bringing them back to some sort of life – but how?  Somehow, he didn’t quite like to ask.

He shelved the question for the time being and concentrated on his career.  After all, he had tasks to complete before he could have a child.  He could dodge the issue of the child’s mother for now.

Then, one day, his grandparents gave him a ‘box of memories’ that they’d put together for future generations.  He’d always known Granddad Sam was a musician but he’d never realised how good he was, or that his great-grandmother Louisa was such an amazing songwriter.  Phil became obsessed by Annals, and by one track in particular.  Fire and Water was the story of a fireman who fell in love with a ghost.  According to Sam’s sleeve notes, the song was about Louisa’s parents but it felt to Phil as though she could equally have been looking into the future and writing about his own life.  The notes also hinted at the solution to his problem.  It seemed that everything depended on a call from the science lab.  He went back to his work and waited for the phone to ring.
Jaclyn had retired soon after Phil was given responsibility for the larger fires, leaving him on his own at the station.  Just before his adult birthday, he made it to Assistant Fire Chief.  Assistant to whom?

Then his phone rang.  It wasn’t the lab but it was an opportunity.  He only needed one more.  The trouble was, he’d have to give up his job.  Even if he sat on it until he’d got his final promotion, did he really want to give up being Fire Chief in favour of a very junior position with the Llamas?  He was flattered to have been asked, of course, but it didn’t seem like a sensible move.  After agonising over it for a few hours, he turned down the offer.  He could always wait for another opportunity to crop up.  He’d be OK, provided his mother didn’t find out.

His final promotion came through and he was able to work from home most of the time.  While he was back at the station maintaining the other fire engine, he discovered that he had a new colleague at last.  Kisha was a vast improvement on her predecessors.  She was young, for a start.  He discovered that she was brave and athletic like himself, with an interest in martial arts.  If things had been different, she’d have made him a good wife –although she did seem a little lacking in common sense.  The next time he was called out to a fire, she was one of the panicking people he had to rescue.

With his promotion to Fire Chief came recognition – of a sort.  His ‘celebration of great success’ was sparsely attended, to say the least.

It probably didn’t help that the mayor had apparently decided it would be a good idea to present him with his medal in one of the flowerbeds.

Still, it did feel good to get the medal and he proudly hung it on his bedroom wall with his other awards.  He was just heading upstairs to the kitchen to grab a meal fit for heroes when Lily took him aside.  Had she heard that he’d turned down an opportunity?  No, it was just the old ‘doing his duty by the family’ spiel.  He was well aware that other people were making sacrifices for this dynasty, his mother most of all – but at least his parents had been (and still were) blissfully happy together.  At last, it was too much.  He’d kept his secret for too long.  So now he told Lily about Ruth; about his hopeless love – unless the scientists came good very, very soon.

“But why don’t you ask a genie for help?  There are plenty of lamps lying around the house.”
“A genie?  What good would that do?  Aren’t they just for getting even richer than we are already?”
“No.  We’ve mostly used them for money but they can grant other wishes… like long life…”
“Oh, Mum, I’m sorry.  I thought you were using the Fountain up the hill.”
“I am – but I also asked a genie for a long life.  That spring’s not very reliable.  Don’t tell your father.  He thinks it’s wonderful.”
“So what do I do?  Just rub a lamp?”
“I think you’d need her gravestone.  You could go and collect it from the cemetery.”
“No need.  I’ve been carrying it around for ages.”
“Well, in that case, put it down somewhere and grab a lamp.  After you’ve eaten, of course.”

Of course.  Honestly, mothers!  You finally had the chance of a lifetime and they still insisted on you having a proper meal first.  Oh well.  Best not to argue.

He might not have appreciated Zoë’s cooking to the full or chewed every mouthful properly but he did at least shovel down some food.  Then he placed Ruth’s tombstone carefully down on the lawn…

…and rubbed the lamp.

Myron the genie seemed pleased to be asked for something other than money.  He took a deep breath and did that show-offy glowing thing they liked to do.

“Yeah, nice trick, making the tombstone disappear.  The shadow’s still there, though.  And where’s Ruth?”
“In the immortal phrase, she’s behind you!

He turned around and there she was, still floating a little but otherwise as solid as he was.  How could he ever thank Myron enough?

*   *   *   *   *

Ruth’s introduction to her new life was eventful, to say the least.  While Phil was, rather nervously, asking her to join the household…

… out in the garden, Adam was leaving it.

Then, the following morning, the stove caught fire again.  Ruth showed she was the right woman for Phil by attacking the blaze with her extinguisher.  In fact, she got to the fire faster than he did.

Even with both of them fighting the fire, it was hours before the flames died down.  Zoë’s daughter Lucy, who had just blown out her candles, really should have used the potty before she’d grown too big for it.  In her panic over the fire, the poor girl had an unfortunate accident on the kitchen floor, adding to the general mayhem.

With the blaze finally extinguished and the cooker and cabinets replaced yet again, Phil promised to use his contacts to get the whole house fireproofed.  It was just too embarrassing for a firefighter from another force to be called out to the house of the Fire Chief of Hidden Springs.  The man was useless but that didn't make Phil feel much better.

Phil didn’t really believe that bad things came in threes but he did keep a sharp eye out for meteors for the next day or two.  In fact, the next significant event was a good one.  His phone rang.  It was someone from the sports stadium again: if he didn’t want to play for them, would he at least be willing to join in their fitness campaign and improve his athletic skill by one level?  He was happy to accept and spent the night at the gym with his moodlet manager.

Then he rushed home to tell Ruth that his requirements were now completed and, er, well, you know…

She knew.

And soon after that, she realised that she was pregnant.

In the finest traditions of dynasties, their daughter was born in a bathroom.

They named her Dora.

Next chapter

Summary – Generation 2

Heir: Philip
Traits: Athletic*, Brave, Ambitious, Daredevil, Handy
Lifetime wish: Tinkerer (not yet finished)

Unique maxed career: Firefighter
Two unique best friends: Kisha Andrew & Myron Gamez (genie)
Three unique skill challenges: Plumber, Electrician, Tinkerer
Four unique opportunities: Scavenger Hunt: Precious Materials, Shower Upgrade, Try the Traps, Add It Up
Buildings bought this generation: Centre for Naturally Scientific Studies.  (Well, actually, I had to call it ‘Centre for Natural Sciences’ because its full name won’t fit in the box.  Neither will ‘Landgraab Industries Science Facility’, for that matter.)

Newly-upgraded properties: Mick’s Master Karaoke, Landgraab Sell’n’Swap, Performance Park, The Scholar’s Garden**, Champs les Sims Nectary**, Redwood Peak Viewing Area, Eloise C Vanderburg's Home for Books, Crystal Solarium Rejuvenating Waters
Vacations used: 4 out of 4

*Trait allocated by the game
**Putting the WA venues into town was a misjudgement.  Adam ended up travelling to all three locations anyway, so it was adding to the file size and number of properties to be bought for no real benefit.

Halfway through the time in this town, they own about half of it.  In fact, they probably have enough spare cash to buy the rest outright but I’m trying to keep the file size down.  It might have been better to have delayed the property speculation even more.

I chose Ruth as the generation 2 spouse on the basis of her Sims Wiki article.  She looked to have interesting genes and her colouring (grey skin/white hair) sounded different, if not particularly interesting.  In fact, she turns out to be rather better looking and more colourful in person (well, in pixels).

Offline sunshine_2406

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Fire and Water (30 October)
« Reply #110 on: October 30, 2013, 04:07:30 PM »
I really love Ruth, her massive eyes are great and her colouring is lovely :) I hope their nooboo inherits some of her genes.
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Offline Rhoxi

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Fire and Water (30 October)
« Reply #111 on: October 30, 2013, 05:47:45 PM »

I agree, Ruth is just lovely: great coloring and gorgeous doe eyes. Dora would be lucky to get those eyes. Also, grats on Phillip finishing his requirements!

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Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Fire and Water (30 October)
« Reply #112 on: October 31, 2013, 01:31:32 PM »
I really love Ruth, her massive eyes are great and her colouring is lovely :) I hope their nooboo inherits some of her genes.
I agree, Ruth is just lovely: great coloring and gorgeous doe eyes. Dora would be lucky to get those eyes.

It's odd: she can look beautiful (as in that CAS shot) or really weird (kind of like an alien/cat crossbreed  :o), depending on her expression and the lighting.  Always interesting, though.

I was originally going to have a female firefighter but changed my mind just so that he could marry Ruth, since relatives are off-limits for this generation.  I was a little disappointed that Dora was another greenboo.  I'm pretty sure that Ruth has pale blue skin, which could have produced interesting results mixed with Phil's slider position.  Dora has inherited some genes from her mother, though.

Also, grats on Phillip finishing his requirements!

Thanks :).  It was incredibly frustrating getting the 'Going Pro' opportunity near the end.  I dithered a lot over whether to let him accept it, even though it was obviously a silly career move.  The opportunities are definitely the limiting factor in this dynasty.  I’m sure they used to fire more frequently.

Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty
« Reply #113 on: November 04, 2013, 05:22:55 PM »

Dora grew into a cute toddler with her father’s skin, her mother’s eyes and her great-grandfather Sam’s hair.

She wasn't short of carers.  The adults would almost fight each other for her attention, queuing up at her cot to tend to her every need and wanting to teach her skills.  Zoë’s daughters, who were now teenagers, also spent most of their free time amusing her.

Surprisingly, though, it was Luke, the playboy bachelor, who bonded most closely with the toddler.

Those huge eyes had him hypnotised – as did someone else’s.

Phil was worried.  He’d always known that Ruth had problems with commitment, so he’d been careful not to push her.  Maybe he’d been too careful.  Now that they had a child, perhaps they should move on from being mere ‘romantic interests’.  Feeling slightly silly, he asked her to go steady.

Well, that was a surprise.  He’d expected a refusal or possibly reluctant agreement.  Instead, she was enthusiastic.  Had she only been flirting with Luke because she felt insecure?  Encouraged, he took the next step.

Again, her response amazed him.  She was delighted by his proposal and immediately launched into plans for the big day.  He’d heard that some girls grew up dreaming of the perfect wedding and planning every last detail but he hadn’t expected Ruth to be one of them.  Not only that, she was dead keen on throwing a hen party – and on Phil having a stag do as well.

In fact, unknown to Phil, who was asleep at the time, she went as far as asking – no, begging – Lily to give her blessing to the union.

The next few days were a mad whirl of parties, culminating in the family’s biggest wedding to date.

*   *   *   *   *

Caroline and Lucy had now grown up.

Caroline moved out of the house and into a huge place in town.  Lucy wanted to stay, and to add to the family.  Unfortunately, the town seemed to be running out of young bachelors.  She had a series of disastrous relationships with older men…

…all of whom seemed to age up into grumpy elders as soon as things started to get serious.  Eventually, she began to wonder whether her cousin Phil had had the right idea.  Maybe she should also look for a spouse in the cemetery.

In the early hours of the following morning, she met her first ghost.  Daniel Romero wasn’t bad-looking and he appeared to be reasonably young.  He also claimed to be single.  This sounded promising.

At dawn, when he disappeared, she looked around at the gravestones.  Daniel’s was next to another one – a woman’s.  And she had the same surname.  Lucy supposed Daisy could be a sister, or even his mother.  Or maybe he hadn't been entirely truthful.  Well, she knew how to find out more.  Once evening had fallen, she took advantage of her slight problem with property ownership and helped herself to all three of the headstones that still had legible names.  Then she poked about at home until she found a genie lamp.  Daniel was obviously the first candidate for resurrection.

As soon as he’d got over the shock of being alive again, Lucy asked him about Daisy.  Was it just coincidence that she’d been buried next to him and was also a Romero?  He hesitated for a suspiciously long time and then he admitted it.  When he’d said he was single, it was only because his wife was dead.

“Just like you, then?  I think you’d better leave.  Now.”

Lucy hunted around and found another lamp in the chest on the landing.  Then she asked the new genie to restore Daisy to life and sent her off after her errant husband.

Was she ever going to have any luck with men?  There was still one tombstone left.  Elias Nathanial.  Might as well have another go.

She waited impatiently for the first genie’s magic to recharge.  It was almost midnight when he announced that he was up for another resurrection.

This time, everything went well.  Elias really was single, he was young and he was interested in Lucy.  Before the night was over, he’d moved in.  He’d have to leave again to make room in the household for a child but they could enjoy some time together first.

They both wanted to marry but some unknown force seemed to be preventing it.  Lucy changed her name at City Hall anyway.  Then Elias moved out and was back as a visitor almost immediately.  One thing led to another…

…and soon Jack Nathanial joined the family.

*   *   *   *   *

Appropriately for a future gardener, Dora grew up into a child with Plant Sim hair…

…although she didn’t keep it for long.

Everyone kept saying how nice it was to have another child in the house and telling her that Jack would be good company when he’d grown up a bit.  Dora wasn’t impressed. He was a baby.  All he did was cry and wet his nappy.  Even when he’d had a birthday, he still wasn’t much fun.

That was OK.  She had a nursery full of toys to play with…

…and playing Pink Monsters with someone else would spoil the game.

Then Jack grew up again…

…but so did Dora.

Next chapter

Offline Dextra2

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Relationships (4 November)
« Reply #114 on: November 05, 2013, 01:54:47 AM »
Man, Dora made me jump for a second. She's rather pretty once you get use to those cheeks though.... (THOSE CHEEKBONES! SO WEIRD!)
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Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Relationships (4 November)
« Reply #115 on: November 05, 2013, 04:14:34 PM »
She's certainly... umm... unusual-looking, and the pea-green skin doesn't help  ;).

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Relationships (4 November)
« Reply #116 on: November 05, 2013, 04:24:10 PM »
You say unusual, I say gorgeous! Maybe unusually gorgeous. Jack looks really unique too. I can't wait to see the nooboos that they'll inevitably make.
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Offline Rhoxi

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Relationships (4 November)
« Reply #117 on: November 05, 2013, 08:31:39 PM »

Such cute nooboos they shall make! I love that Dora got her mom's huge eyes, and that Jack got the hair and a gorgeous green shade of skin. Now Luke, you better behave around Phil's wife, no matter how mesmerizing those eyes are! Man, the ghosts in this town are so awesome looking.

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty: Relationships (4 November)
« Reply #118 on: November 06, 2013, 04:10:05 PM »
You say unusual, I say gorgeous! Maybe unusually gorgeous. Jack looks really unique too. I can't wait to see the nooboos that they'll inevitably make.
Such cute nooboos they shall make! I love that Dora got her mom's huge eyes, and that Jack got the hair and a gorgeous green shade of skin. Now Luke, you better behave around Phil's wife, no matter how mesmerizing those eyes are! Man, the ghosts in this town are so awesome looking.

Gosh, I wonder why you're both jumping to conclusions? :P  OK, I was playing quite a lot over the weekend and have seen Generation 4.  You'll have to wait for a while, though  :-X.

I'm getting a little tired of the forty shades of green, although Jack's skin is quite a pretty colour.  I liked Lucy's lime-green skin, too, and rather wished she could have been an heir.

The ghosts are great.  Not as... well... Twinbrooky as certain other ghosts I know rather well but still very distinctive.

Offline hazelnut

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Re: End of the Line Dynasty
« Reply #119 on: November 06, 2013, 04:35:15 PM »

Above all, Dora wanted to nurture the earth.  She loved the beautiful town she lived in and the way that the buildings never seemed to overwhelm the plants.  Except for maybe that eyesore of a square in the centre of town.  Someday, she’d sort that out.  For now, she did what she could to help the planet.  If she stayed after school for Study Club, she cycled home.

She supposed she ought to learn to drive sometime.  It was kind of a social necessity.  But really she preferred her bike.  The rest of the family weren’t convinced by her arguments.  Even Gran, who loved growing things, said that the benefits of motive mobiles outweighed the pollution.  And as for Dad…  He insisted on driving that fire engine of his everywhere, even though lugging around all of that firefighting equipment all the time could hardly be fuel-efficient.  She’d long given up on trying to persuade them to avoid meat, as well.  Even Jack, who sometimes seemed to be as keen on saving the planet as Dora was, said you couldn’t beat the thrill of landing a particularly tricky fish… and then cooking and eating it.

Jack…  Hmm…  Dora wasn’t sure what she thought of Jack.  If she was honest with herself, it was mostly envy.  Since he’d become a teenager, Jack was allowed to help Gran in the garden.

Dora wasn’t.  Being The Heir sucked.  As far as she could see, it just meant she wasn’t allowed to do anything she wanted to do.

Then Dad gave her the box.  There were quite a lot of things in it and not all of them were for her, but there was a letter from her great-grandparents, which was sort of vague but inspiring, and a book.  Well, two books, but Dad said she should read one of them in particular.  It was called The Wan-Goddard Story and Dad said that if she read Chapter 3, she’d understand why she wasn’t allowed to learn gardening yet.  She knew the author: Sophia Gold, her great-grandmother.  She turned to the contents page.  Chapter 3 was Flora.  Was that just a coincidence?  Something that meant ‘plants’ but sounded like ‘Dora’?  She’d always hated skipping through stories to the good bit (even if it did turn out to be the only good bit), so she started at the beginning – and was soon hooked.

Oh!  So it was all about opportunities.  Flora, her many-greats-grandmother, who had also been green-fingered, had always been convinced that if she’d started on her skill later she’d have had an easier time.  It was frustrating when there was so much weeding and harvesting to be done but it made a kind of sense – and reading the further adventures of her ancestors kept Dora pleasantly occupied in the evenings while Gran and Jack were out in the garden.

Dora had other concerns, apart from gardening and Jack.  Dad was getting older and maybe starting to lose it.  Everyone at school knew about the time he’d turned up to a house fire in his pyjamas.

He wore them at home most of the time, too.  The rest of them had sort of got used to it.

And why was he always upgrading stuff?  Even things that were never seen again?  Dora wondered whether he was trying to escape.  It was no great secret that her mother fancied other men.

Dora had even caught her flirting with Uncle Luke more than once.

Several of her schoolfriends had divorced parents.  She wasn’t sure why hers insisted on sticking together.  She hoped it wasn’t ‘for the children’.

Then, just before Dora reached her longed-for young adult birthday, Dad aged up.

He retired at once.  Now he could stay in his pyjamas all day if he wanted and spend all of his time on baffling upgrades.

At last, at last, it was Dora’s turn to blow out the candles again.

Now she could start on her life’s work…

…or, at least, she could after she’d graduated.  To her parents' delight, she was valedictorian, although she failed to be nominated as Most Likely to Do Anything.

She didn’t mind.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought.  She knew she was Most Likely to Be a Famous Gardener.  All of her waking hours were now spent outdoors, either tending the garden or talking to Gran, who was only too happy to share a lifetime’s plant lore.

Then Jack had his cake and ate it.

Dora had to admit, he hadn’t turned out too badly.

Jack wasn’t valedictorian but was voted Most Popular, which was becoming something of a family tradition.

After the ceremony, Dora and Jack stood around chatting for hours.  Yes, he really had grown up quite well.

Next chapter

Despite appearances, Dora the First was named after Dora the Explorer.  The current version has a backpack as a vague homage.

Dora Simm was one of my earlier Sims (the surname is a dead giveaway).  She dates back to the base-game-only days, after I’d started to get the hang of playing but was still exploring Sunset Valley.  Although she was an astronaut by career and lifetime wish, her primary purpose was collecting.  She was also, like her namesake, a keen gardener.  The original Dora was the first Sim I played on epic and was around for long enough that she still survives in back-up saves.